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Iran supplies arms to Yemen rebels, Saudi Arabia criticizes Tehran

Saudi Arabia slams Iran for increasing the distress in Yemen by supplying arms to the rebels of the country.

 Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir accused Tehran of smuggling arms to Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who control the capital Sanaa and northern Yemen, and to the rebels’ ally former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Al Jubeir, in Riyadh accuses the greatest sponsor of terrorism, Iran for smuggling arms to the Houthi rebels which reduce the chance of tranquility in the country and failure of political negotiations between the government and the militants.

While Iran does not hide its support for the rebels’ cause, it has consistently denied smuggling arms to the Houthis.

Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdulmalik Al Mekhlafi told the meeting the Houthis were carrying out a “sectarian project inspired by Iran” which he said sought to “topple the legitimate (Yemeni) government”.

The Yemen war has claimed more than 8,600 lives since a regional military coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, joined the Yemeni government’s fight against the rebels in 2015.

A cholera outbreak has also claimed more than 2,100 lives since April as hospitals struggle to secure supplies amid a blockades on ports and the country’s main international airport.

The United Nations has warned Yemen now stands at the brink of famine.

Multiple rounds of UN-sponsored talks on the Yemen war have failed to broker a political settlement between the Saudi-backed government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the rebels and their allies.

Addressing Sunday’s gathering, Saudi chief of staff, General Abdel Rahman bin Saleh Al Banyan, said Yemeni forces had regained control of “85 per cent of the country” and had “spared civilians in conformity with international humanitarian law”.

The meeting comes a week after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met Gulf officials in the Saudi capital for talks that largely focused on Iran’s role across the region.

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